A student died after being told "you sound like you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself" by NHS 111. David Nash, 26, passed away following four "shambolic" calls with NHS 111 after needing an urgent in-person consultation with a healthcare professional.
An inquest into his death heard that the 26-year-old had four over-the-phone consultations with a healthcare staff at a Leeds GP practice over a 19-day period in October and November 2020. The Mirror reports that Mr Nash's condition rapidly declined after his last consultation on November 2.
A West Yorkshire court heard earlier this week that he was taken to hospital by ambulance after a number of calls to NHS 111, but sadly died on November 4, 2020. It was later discovered that his death was caused by a serious bacterial infection, mastoiditis, in his ear which caused an abscess on his brain.
Abigail Combes, assistant coroner, read a statement from GP expert Alastair Bint during the inquest. Dr Bint had told the hearing in Wakefield that a nurse should have organised an urgent in-patient appointment after Mr Nash’s fourth phone consultation.
However, the doctor did not take aim at the remote nature of Mr Nash's first three consultations. But he admitted that a face-to-face appointment with Lynne White, an advanced nurse practitioner, could have led to live-saving hospital admission.
In her evidence read to the court, Lynne White told Mr Nash: “You're sounding like you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself, are you feeling a bit rotten.” The nurse insisted that she was simply reflecting that the patient seemed unwell, and wasn’t being dismissive.
Dr Bint claims that the symptoms the 26-year-old presented including fever, neck stiffness and night-time headaches were "red flags". He concluded that the nurse's diagnosis of a flu-like virus was "not safe".
Dr Bint said: "This was a patient that needed to be seen in person. This was a patient demonstrating some significant red flags and needed to be seen. Had he been seen in-person, it seems likely to me he would've been admitted to hospital."
The doctor's report noted that the law student would have been in hospital 10 hours earlier. However, he conceded that it was for a neurosurgical expert to comment on whether his outcome would have been different.
Mr Nash's parents, Andrew and Anne Nash, described how their son had five "shambolic" calls on November 2 with the NHS 111 system before being taken to St James's Hospital in Leeds by ambulance. They have campaigned to find out whether the mastoiditis would have been identified and easily treated with antibiotics if their son had undergone a face-to-face examination earlier.
Mrs Nash read a pen-portrait of her son to the court as tribute, and said that she was "eternally grateful for an amazing 26 years of love and hilarity". She added: "Your huge smile, your compassion and your ability to enjoy every moment could never be replicated."
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